Peter de Francia
Peter de Francia is justly renowned in Britain and elsewhere in Europe as an artist of great power and integrity whose allegorical narratives unflinchingly confront the perennial struggle between liberty and repression.
In her learned and perceptive essay in these pages, Dore Ashton convincingly places de Francia within a humanistic tradition of draftsmen as freedom fighters stretching from Goya to Guttuso, via Beckmann, Picasso and Grosz. There are shades, too, of a distinctly British tradition of caricature, of Hogarth and Rowlandson, in de Francia’s pointed social satire.
The dynamic, idiosyncratic, sometimes disturbing and yet invariably lyrical drawings of de Francia convey a breadth of emotions and themes. While there is a distinct morality to de Francia’s vision, art never plays second fiddle to sentiment, however worthy the latter may be. These are images that derive their power as much from internal energies as external ideals.
This exhibition reflects an international revaluation of de Francia’s work that has included, for example, displays of historically important drawings and paintings at both Tate Britain and Tate Modern last year. His drawings speak with clarity and conviction to our troubled times.
Graham Nickson, Dean
David Cohen, Gallery Director
The New York Studio School is deeply grateful to Peter de Francia, his wife, Alix MacSweeney, and his dealer, James Hyman, for their tireless efforts to make this exhibition possible. Thanks are also due to Christabel Armsden and staff at the James Hyman Gallery, London; Dore Ashton, for her essay; Philip Dodd, for his interview with the artist; Carole Robb. for her early encouragement of this project; Charlotte Priddle; and to members of the gallery team at the New York Studio School: Ariel Churnin, Lilianna Perez Reynolds, and Carol Silverman.